News Round-Up: July 19, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Fracking Tour Fails to Sway Quebec Farmers

Popular support for fracking, which involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and other chemicals deep underground at high pressure to fracture rocks and access the resources trapped inside, is lower in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada.

Sacramento to Host California’s Final Fracking Workshop

California environmental officials will host a public meeting on hydraulic fracturing in Sacramento next week, capping a months-long series of workshops aimed at shaping regulations for the controversial method of oil extraction.

Near Drought Conditions Impacting Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling

On Tuesday, as another round of record heat began pounding the mid-Atlantic region, the Susquehanna River Basin suspended 64 water withdrawal permits, the majority of these suspensions going to in state Marcellus shale gas drillers. As the Susquehanna River and its tributaries now face continued low water conditions, the suspensions were issued to 33 companies in total of which 27 were issued to shale gas drillers. Among them, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, Talisman Energy, Chevron Appalachia, EXCO, XTO Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas and other drillers.

Karoo Fracking Report Delayed

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu’s report on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas in the Karoo will now be released in August.


Spill Remedy Questioned by Coast Guard as Shell to Tap Arctic

The U.S. Coast Guard is awaiting permission from the Environmental Protection Agency before including chemical dispersants among the tools to respond to any oil spills once Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) begins drilling in Arctic waters.

Prime Brown Pelican Nesting Area Dramatically Eroding Near Plaquemines

Two slivers of land stick out in Cat Bay, the body of water which gives them their names: Cat Island East and Cat Island West. The word “island” may be a generous term, though.

Environmental Groups: BP Must Restore Gulf Coastland

Two years ago, BP found its place in the environmental villains’ hall of fame with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, the Associate Press reports, environmental groups are calling for the company to buy tens of thousands of acres of land along the cost for conservation and otherwise help rebuild the area’s shattered ecosystems.

Gulf Oil Spill Suffocated Marsh Grasses, Enhanced Erosion

Another oil spill study hot off the presses! This new Silliman et al. PNAS paper is looking at the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on heavily-impacted salt marsh ecosystems around Barataria Bay, Louisiana. In contrast to our own badass study looking at oil impacts on sandy Gulf Coast beaches, marshlands provide a particularly interesting contrast because:


Nearly 36pc of Fukushima Children Diagnosed with Abnormal Thyroid Growths

Nearly 36 percent of children in Fukushima Prefecture have been disgnosed with abnormal growths on their thyroids, although doctors insist there is no link between the “cluster” of incidents and the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in March of last year.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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